Diego Costa being snapped goofing around in a clown wig summed up the Stamford Bridge club’s summer so far
THERE was something ironically fitting about Diego Costa being snapped goofing around in a clown wig.
It seemed to sum up a Chelsea title defence which is already turning into a circus before a ball has even been kicked in anger.
A manager who grows angrier by the day at the lack of transfer activity.
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A star striker whose marriage with the club was over before the fizz had even gone out of last season’s celebrations.
The sale of another proven Prem performer – this time a midfield lynchpin – to one of their biggest threats as well.
The failure to replace Costa with the tried and tested Prem goal scorer everyone was expecting back at Stamford Bridge – and who also ended up with those same rivals.
Oh, and the prospect of starting the season with Eden Hazard, last term’s top dog, unfit to join the party.
And all that with the demands of the Champions League to add to the mix as well.
If there is a blueprint on how NOT to go about defending a title, Chelsea are following it to the letter.
Antonio Conte has made no effort to hide his displeasure at failing to add enough depth or quality to a squad which was clearly head and shoulders above the rest last time around.
But without a few more new faces, it certainly won’t be in this campaign.
The Italian isn’t exactly famed for keeping a lid on his emotions.
Yet while I wouldn’t go along with those who think he may walk by the end of the window, I wouldn’t back him with dodgy money to still be in situ at the end of the campaign if no one arrives.
To be honest, who would? This is a club which, for all it’s modern day glories, has been equally well acquainted with controversy, bust-ups, fall outs and arguments.
Yes, they’ve spent a few bob and Alvaro Morata, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Antonio Rudiger cost the thick end of £130m between them.
But as a Chelsea fan would you sooner have Costa’s guaranteed 20-plus goals, for all the baggage which comes with them, or the promise of a man who’s never played in England?
Would you sooner have Nemanja Matic, a battle hardened brick wall in front of the back line or Bakayoko, another totally raw recruit.
And while Rudiger may be a German international, it is clearly going to take a 24-year-old some time settling into the roughest and toughest league in the world.
Selling Matic to Manchester United was, in everyone’s eyes, impossible to fathom.
No wonder Jose Mourinho can’t keep the smile off his face.
Similarly missing out on re-signing Lukaku, more a force of nature than a footballer at times, was a huge blunder.
Of course recent seasons have shown how the Premier League can make fools of us all, so maybe we should expect the unexpected again.
But somehow, in Chelsea’s case, you can only see one outcome – and for Stamford Bridge followers, it certainly ain’t pretty.
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